Aug 17, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Buffalo Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison (58) looks on prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
One of the more surprising position battles taking place with the Buffalo Bills this year is at strong-side linebacker, where long-assumed starter Kirk Morrison is trying to hold off third-year upstart Arthur Moats, a former college defensive end. Moats got the start in the pre-season opener and Morrison started in Minnesota; in my opinion, Moats was the better linebacker both nights.
New defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has said on numerous occasions that he wants defenders that play fast. This is why Moats currently has the upper hand on Morison, the eight-year veteran with 95 career starts: he's playing faster. Moats has proven himself quick to close on ball carriers and even receivers in space to this point in the pre-season, making a more noticeable impact than Morrison, who to his credit has a few nice run stops under his belt.
Buffalo's strong-side linebacker will likely be on the field for about half of the team's snaps, and in the end, aside from playing fast, this battle could come down to which player is more consistent in coverage. It's a battle that is likely to continue straight through the final pre-season game - but right now, Moats is the leader in the clubhouse.